On a visit to her father in Italy, kindhearted teen Jenny is drawn to a mysterious lake which reputably has healing properties. When she befriends a group of strange sick children in the local creepy hospital, she starts to learn more about the local legends and secrets start to unravel.
Starring: Daisy Keeping, David Brandon, Joy Tanner
Director: Riccardo Paoletti
Netflix, you are so shit.
Ok, that’s pretty unfair, actually. Netflix has some really great stuff on there. But… the thing with Netflix is that you always end up watching really crappy films like this one. Ones that have potential or a good premise, but just don’t live up to much. I guess they need content that’s cheap, and I get that, it’s just that there’s a lot of filler on there, and if you watch a lot of films, you might have already seen all the good stuff.
Anyway, like I say, this is a Netflix filler of a film. Don’t get me wrong, I love curling up with a cup of cocoa and taking the piss out of bad films with my man. But this film has enough potential for you to want to get into it, but with plot holes so big you’re more confused than amused.
Essentially, we open on Jenny, who has this thing for Shelley, the poet, which you think will pay off somewhere in the film, or give some layer of meaning, but it doesn’t. She’s travelling to Italy to see her Dad, whose got this passion for the local lake, called the Lake of Idols, due to people are always finding little statues and bronze replicas of body parts and organs that were thrown in by the Romans in the hopes of finding healing. Jenny is pretty into this story as well, and starts to take a look around, feeling drawn to the creepy lake area.
When a blind folded girl wanders up to the lake, rather than pointing out the dangers of wandering around blind folded by a large body of water, Jenny befriends her, and takes her back to the hospital which the child may or may not have escaped from, and which may or may not be an orphanage.
So far so coherent.
At this point, you start asking questions that the film doesn’t answer and the film starts offering you three different stories that it will never bother to resolve later on. There’s a monster or three in the lake, which you’d think is what the film is about, but it isn’t. They don’t do much. There’s a kind of Edward Cullen thing going on with one of the children who is a similar age to Jenny, but that is foreshadowing that doesn’t pay off. There is something clearly ghostly about these kids, but they don’t do anything terribly scary, so they’re not really threatening. There’s something going on with locked doors and family secrets at home, which turns out to be the real plot, and makes you question how the hell the house’s architecture works. It’s one of those scripts that has a lot in it, and should have been cut down, or turned into two separate films. Or maybe three separate films. Nothing really pays off here.
Daisy Keeping, who plays Jenny, gives her character a certain warmth and innocence which really carries the film. She is an excellent casting choice, I think. However, the script really lets her down, (she’s got a very British accent, why bother with clunky exposition about her coming from America? Also, why does this girl never ask any of the really obvious questions?) and the performances of the children she befriends in the hospital are laughable (the blind girl is actually ok).
If you watch the trailer, (take a look on IMDB) you can see how the visuals in the film have a lot of potential without having to actually watch the film (you’re welcome). A lot of the film is quite creative and dark, with some great cg design things going on, and the camera really captures the creepiness of the lake location. It makes me think that the director probably has a lot of potential, really, and you can see why Netflix picked it up. The sound design leaves a little to be desired, with some sound effects sounding like they were downloaded free off the internet, and the music sometimes hinting at fear where there is no reason for any, or otherwise not quite supporting the drama of the situation, but it’s not too bad.
All things said, don’t bother watching it, but keep an eye on the director and on that female lead, maybe, too. They might do something interesting in the future (Paoletti has another film coming out this year). If you have seen it, can you answer for me any of the plot hole questions below? What did you think?
- Why does Peter have magic powers? Why does no one else?
- Is the grandmother her mother? Why did she keep the family secret?
- Why is Jenny not suspicious about the lack of hospital staff, bedding, hygiene…?
- Why does Peter lead her away from the locked door?
- Why does giving the statues back to the lake actually change nothing?